New cars 2021: what's coming and when?
Many new models will land in showrooms before the year is out. Here's your go-to guide for all of them
It's been a gloomy year and a bit, so many of you will want to treat yourselves to a new car to brighten things up. And you will certainly be spoiled for choice, no matter what you fancy.
2020 saw the introduction of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen Golf GTI and Toyota GR Yaris, and 2021 is fast shaping up to be another year of big hitters.
With just nine years to go until the sale of new petrol and diesel cars is banned, all eyes are on the landmark EVs hitting dealerships in the next 12 months, but there are still plenty of hugely exciting combustion models on the horizon.
Here's your go-to rundown of every new car due over the rest of this year:
-June - July - August - September - October - November - December-
The low-slung saloon arrives as the new flagship model for the French brand, promising to better compete with other premium models such as the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. It will be offered with a range of petrol and plug-in hybrid powertrains, including a four-wheel-drive E-Tense range-topper that mixes a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine with two electric motors for a combined 355bhp. It will be built exclusively in China, where DS hopes to make the bulk of its sales, and exported worldwide.
*Ferrari Portofino M *
The entry-level Ferrari gets the ‘Modificata’ treatment with sportier styling and a power boost, its twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 taken from 592bhp to 612bhp. It also gains a new eight-speed transmission, the first in a Ferrari drop-top, which helps trim the 0-62mph time from 3.5sec to 3.45sec, and improves the 0-124mph sprint by a full second. Drivers also benefit from the full five-position manettino driving mode switch seen on pricier Ferraris.
*Hyundai Ioniq 5*
Based on the Giugiaro-inspired ‘45’ concept, the 5 spearheads Hyundai’s new Ioniq-badged EV family, and is the first model to sit atop the brand’s new E-GMP architecture. It marks a break from the styling of the brand’s combustion-car-based EVs, and is equipped with 800V charging capability for an 80% charge in as little as 18 minutes.
The new Maserati MC20 isn’t just a supercar: it’s a mission statement. “You need to have something that pulls up the tempo,” says company boss Davide Grasso. “You need the crown jewel, the shiny object." There’s no doubt the MC20 is very shiny. In fact, there’s likely already a queue of Instagrammers lining up to take pictures of it. But, significantly, Grasso promises there’s more to it than that: “It can’t be something just to be noticed, because then it becomes crass. This goes back to the roots of the brand, which was born on the circuit to go to the road.”
Effectively, the MC20 is designed to relaunch the Maserati brand, to pitch it back into the rarefied premium Italian air after years of muddled machines that have lacked both cachet and quality. It will be followed by a new SUV, the Grecale, refreshed Granturismo and Grancabrio models and a range of electrified powertrains – including, in 2022, an electric MC20. This year, though, the MC20 arrives with a £187,230 price, a mid-mounted V6 producing 621bhp and 538lb ft, and a top speed exceeding 202mph. If the handling and performance match that potential, it should be an exciting prospect - and much more than a shiny object.
Mercedes' ultra-premium brand turns its attentions to the firm's largest SUV. The result is the world’s plushest tank, a 2710kg limo that can be optioned with a near-endless list of customisations including a four-seat layout with folding tables and a refrigerator. The sole drivetrain is a mild-hybrid unit, combining a turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine with a 48V integrated starter motor to provide an overall output of 550bhp. It should be good for 0-62mph in 4.9sec, and top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
Merc’s answer to the Bentley Flying Spur gets the choice of a 496bhp V8 or a 603bhp V12 to propel all five and a half metres of it. The styling won’t be to all tastes, but those being chauffeured in the rear won’t mind too much, with the level of pampering on offer there.
The new Swedish brand's first EV gains more affordable base variants this year, reducing the motor count along with costs to better compete with the Tesla Model 3. Drive is sent exclusively to a front-mounted motor producing either 221bhp or 227bhp, while batteries are offered in 64kWh or 78kWh sizes, giving a range of between 260 and 335 miles. Prices start from £39,990.
*Porsche 911 GT3 Touring*
Want a more road-focused Porsche 911? The GT3 Touring might scratch that itch, offering toned-down styling and a six-speed manual gearbox. Porsche's seven-speed PDK automatic is also available as an option. There's no rear wing either, and prices match the standard GT3, starting from £127,820, and we can expect performance figures to remain roughly identical, too: 0-62mph in 3.4secs and a 199mph top speed.
*Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo*
Our favourite electric performance car gets a more practical estate bodystyle, which has been delayed until 2021 because of robust demand for the saloon version. It retains the Taycan's powertrain and battery line-up, meaning 523bhp in entry-level 4S guise from two electric motors across both axles, rising to 671bhp for the Turbo and 751bhp for the Turbo S variants.
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*Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA*
Alfa’s wildest and most powerful road car yet draws 533bhp from a tweaked version of the standard Quadrifoglio’s 2.9-litre V6 - boosting power by 30bhp. That’s not all, though: the car is up to 100kg lighter thanks to liberal use of carbonfibre throughout most of the body and in some key mechanical components. It’s more than twice the price of the standard Quadrifoglio, though, so it deserves to be good.
Alpina will likely try to soften the visual impact of the controversial new BMW M4 a little with its take on the fast coupé formula. The B4, like its recently launched B3 sibling, will be the first to use the same basic engine as the M4. Power will be down to 456bhp, but torque rises to a chunky 516lb ft. A comfort-focus chassis tune is the order of the day.
PSA’s upmarket brand is hoping to upset the sales dominance of cars such as the Mercedes A-Class with its all-new DS 4. Offering a more luxury-focused approach, it will give new PSA Group tech its debut, such as advanced level two driver assist tech, night vision and an augmented head-up display. Pitched somewhere between a hatchback and crossover, the model will arrive with a plug-in hybrid powertrain shared with the Peugeot 508, Citroën C5 Aircross and Vauxhall Grandland X. That means a 12.4kWh battery giving some 30 miles of zero-emissions range, although this drops the boot space from 430 to 390 litres to make room for those all-important cells.
The pedant-bothering ‘four-door coupé’ is updated with minor design tweaks outside but a more significant interior makeover is likely to bring its technology into line with the latest offered by the Stuttgart brand. The current car has just two engine choices, so expect more to be added and the possibility of a plug-in variant in due course.
The Artura represents a new era for McLaren’s ‘entry-level’ line – and not just because it has an actual name, unlike the 620R and its Sport Series predecessors. More significantly, the Artura is the firm’s first series-production hybrid – or a High-Performance Hybrid, as the Woking firm would have it. The V6 engine and electric motor join forces to provide 671bhp, with 0-60mph taking just three seconds. Top speed? Capped at 205mph. Meanwhile, the car's 7.4kWh battery affords it an electric range of 19 miles, with combined fuel economy claimed to be in the region of 50mpg.
*Porsche 911 GTS*
The sports-suspended GTS returns this year to bridge the gap between the standard 911 and the forthcoming GT3-badged variant. The outgoing model had 444bhp, but its replacement gets a healthy power hike to 473bhp, in addition to the 992-generation car's new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and the option of a seven-speed manual. Customers can choose from coupé, cabrio and Targa bodystyles.
*Seat Tarraco PHEV*
Seat launched the standard Tarraco in 2018 and first detailed the plug-in hybrid version the following summer. So why is it only arriving in showrooms this year? You can blame Covid-related delays forcing it down the VW Group launch priority list. Anyway, once it finally arrives, the Tarraco PHEV will make use of a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine mated to a 113bhp electric motor and 13kW lithium ion battery for 242bhp - and an electric-only range of over 31 miles.
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The Chinese-built iX3 is essentially an electric version of the third-generation X3, so is largely familiar save for its blanked-off grille, aerodynamically optimised wheel designs and blue trim elements. It uses the same fifth-generation EV powertrain as the iX, but swaps the dual-motor set-up for a single unit on the rear axle producing 282bhp, and is powered by a 74kW battery giving up to 285 miles per charge. Premier Edition trim starts at £61,900, but cheaper variants are likely to follow.
Dacia's value SUV gains a Sandero-inspired front end, a larger, updated infotainment system, and a raft of efficiency-boosting tweaks, including the addition of a new six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. . Prices are expected to start from £12,000.
The Ariya was effectively branded as a ‘Leaf SUV’ prior to its unveiling, but it’s turned out to be much more than that. The bold, high-riding fully electric model is unlike any Nissan we’ve seen yet, and promises both new standards of technology and “exciting” handling. Up to 389bhp and a 310-mile range? It certainly sounds promising.
The Arkana was revealed rather quietly at the 2018 Moscow motor show, with no official plans to bring it to Western Europe. Clearly, Renault’s new management thought the SUV coupé had greater potential, so it’s now decided to bring the model into further European markets, including the UK. Sitting alongside the Kadjar and Captur, the Arkana will offer a range of mild-hybrid turbo petrol engines and a full-hybrid E-Tech model.
Such is the fast pace of the new car market these days that the relatively new Arona somehow seems in need of an update. Thankfully, it’s mid-life revamp time, so the Ford Puma benefits from an external nip and tuck, a revamped cabin and improvements to the car’s array of tech. No big changes under the bonnet or to the chassis, though, which is no bad thing.
It’s only natural that Seat will update the strongly related Ibiza at the same time as the Arona. It’s still one of the best superminis on the market, we reckon, and its continuing popularity means the Spanish firm hasn't gone back to the drawing board. It's a mild refresh job inside and out, and better connectivity.
You might have been lucky (or perhaps unlucky) to come across the controversially styled Mirai in its first generation, but the hydrogen-powered model didn’t exactly fly out of showrooms. That’s why Toyota has gone in a totally different direction with the new car’s design - as well as updating the powertrain, drafting in a more appealing rear-driven platform and, Autocar understands, dropping the price. It’s a pity the UK’s hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is as limited as ever.
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Audi's sports hatchback will pack 394bhp, mated with four-wheel-drive and a drift mode. Both saloon and hatchback variants will be available, and a new torque splitter is said to provide greater traction, reducing understeer. Both models will receive a dedicated track mode called RS Performance. It uses its own drivetrain mapping and has been developed to operate in combination with track-ready Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres, which will be available as an option when sales begin. The new RS3 retains the turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine from its predecessor, although it is now delivered 250rpm earlier, at 5600rpm, and spins up to a 7000rpm redline. Torque has been increased by 15lb ft to 369lb ft between 2250rpm and 5600rpm.
Munich goes after the Tesla Model 3 with an electric performance saloon that could offer a range of 367 miles. Based on the Gran Coupé that’s also due next year, the i4 runs an 80kWh battery under the floor powering a 523bhp electric motor that produces more oomph than the M4. It should see off 0-62mph in less than four seconds and hit a top speed of 124mph, which bodes well for the M-badged performance variant that's tipped to take BMW's performance brand into the electric era.
One of the most hotly discussed cars of 2020 was BMW’s somewhat belated answer to the Audi E-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC. The controversially styled iX has been touted by BMW as a “technology flagship” and, as such, represents a radical departure from the i3, which has led the brand’s electrification drive since 2013. It will feature BMW’s eighth-generation iDrive system, with a 12.3-in instrument display and 14.9-in infotainment screen housed in a single panel offering a resolution of 220ppi (pixels per inch).
The five-seat, four-wheel-drive SUV packs up to 500bhp, will cover 0-62mph in less than five seconds and is claimed to offer a range of more than 373 miles. While comparable in size to today’s X5, it’s said to feature an interior that feels as spacious as an X7's, courtesy of its flat floor, lack of centre console and predominantly touchscreen-based control panel. Specifications of any variants beyond the officially detailed range-topper have yet to be confirmed, but each axle can support between 121bhp and 402bhp, hinting at the potential for the line-up to expand at both ends, taking in a lower-powered entry-level iX and more potent performance-oriented versions.
*Vauxhall Grandland *
Luton’s SUV flagship follows its Mokka and Crossland stablemates in gaining the dramatic new ‘Vizor’ front end. It’s intended to inject a bit of visual flair into the model, as part of Vauxhall’s plan to be much bolder with its styling. There aren't too many other mechanical or powertrain changes, though, given a plug-in hybrid was introduced only recently.
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*BMW X3 *
BMW’s big-selling mid-sized SUV has avoided the styling controversies of some of its newer siblings, but a facelift has seen to that, as the larger grille of other recent BMWs now features on the X3, too. Less controversial are interior updates to the infotainment system. The M version will be revised at the same time.
The X4 has gone from being the only real model in its class to having several new rivals in the shape of the Mercedes-Benz GLC and the new Audi Q5 Sportback. Changes to the X3 are applied to the X4 at the same time, meaning that front end and those interior changes. Like the X3 M, the X4 M has also been facelifted, too, and now packs slightly more torque.
*Citroën e-Berlingo, Vauxhall Combo-e, Peugeot Rifter EV *
The PSA Group’s plan to spin EVs and combustion-engined models off the same platform is bearing fruit, and attention has now turned to fleet-focused van-based MPVs. The Citroën e-Berlingo, Vauxhall Combo-e and Peugeot Rifter EV models will use a 50kWh battery mated to a 134bhp electric motor, promising decent performance and a respectable 200-mile range.
*Cupra Formentor VZ5*
A limited-run Cupra Formentor VZ5 will come to the UK later in 2021, although the hot crossover will only be available in left-hand drive. Powered by a 2.5-litre turbo engine producing 385bhp and 354lb ft, the five-cylinder-engined VZ5 can hit 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds en route to a top speed of 155mph. Prices are yet to be revealed ahead of the car’s arrival in the third quarter of 2021, but only 7000 examples will be made.
*Fiat 500X Cabriolet*
The Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet won't have the drop-top crossover niche to itself for long, it would appear. Fiat is gearing up to launch an open-roof version of its 500X compact SUV before the year is out, according to reports, and because it will sport a similar part-opening roof to the smaller 500 Cabriolet, it is likely to retain its rear doors, unlike the T-Roc.
*Ford Mustang Mach-1*
The Mustang Mach-E is a future-proof electric SUV. The Mustang Mach 1… isn’t. It’s a Mustang that isn’t at all concerned about the future, because it’s too busy putting a big grin on your face using its utterly old-school charms. The limited-run Mach 1 will be the fastest Mustang yet sold in Europe, pairing classic retro styling with a 454bhp 5.0-litre V8. The Mach 1 costs £55,185 with a manual gearbox, although a 10-speed automatic version is available for £2000 more.
The new entry-point to Hyundai’s SUV range will sit below the Kona to better compete with the Ford Puma and Toyota Yaris Cross at the affordable end of the price spectrum. Underpinnings and powertrains are expected to be shared with the i20 supermini, with styling (although not capability) influenced by off-roaders. Finalised figures are yet to be released, but 54-56mpg is anticipated along with 118-131g/km for mild-hybrid versions.
*Jeep Compass 4xe PHEV*
The petrol-electric Compass will share its powertrain with the plug-in Renegade, promising greater off-road capability as well as zero-emissions driving. A 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine powers the front wheels and twin electric motors the rears. CO2 emissions will be sub-50g/km and the electric range around 25 miles.
The forthcoming Kia EV6 crossover hatchback is based on the company’s new E-GMP platform - meaning a potential range of more than 310 miles and high-speed 800V charging, allowing an 80% charge in as little as 18 minutes from a 350kW rapid-charger. That sort of charging capacity is currently offered on only the Porsche Taycan, so it shows how seriously Kia is taking electric cars. The 0-62mph sprint is claimed to take just 3.5 seconds, so it’ll be no slouch either.
Two new Lamborghini V12s are expected to arrive in 2021 after deliveries of the Huracan Super Trofeo Omologato have commenced. No performance details have been released at this stage, although company boss Stephan Winkelmann says one of the two new cars will feature the electrified supercapacitor system included in the powertrain of the Sian FKP 37.
The Evija hypercar is just the start. And, as spectacular as the electric hypercar should be, it’s this follow-up car from the rejuvenated Lotus brand that will be key to the firm’s future. Expect a Ferrari-rivalling V6-powered hybrid sports car built on an all-new platform with Evija-esque styling and all the lightweight goodness you’d expect of a Lotus.
A combined output of more than 800bhp from its electrified, twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 will make the GT73 the most powerful four-door GT car yet made. Its exterior and interior will not differ wildly from the GT63 currently on sale, but expect some hybrid-specific design cues to point to its 30-mile-plus electric range. THe GT73e will be the first in a series of P3 plug-in hybrid Mercedes-AMG models, with the car set to be capable of 200mph and 0-62mph in under 3.0sec.
Peugeot has enjoyed a few years of strong success with its 3008 and 5008 SUVs, but the 308 still remains a core car vital to its fortunes in Europe and wider markets. The current generation is now overdue for a replacement, and that new car will arrive in showrooms in autumn.
Sitting atop the latest iteration of Stellantis' EMP2 architecture, the 308 brings a choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains, the latter with an EV range of 37 miles. It's a rethink inside, too, where Peugeot's new i-Cockpit design sets it apart from its predecessor, and a bold new look for the exterior brings it into line with the newer 508 and 208. We'll take ours in bright green, please.
Porsche’s entry-level SUV is to be substantially upgraded before a next-generation electric-only version comes in 2022. This petrol-only and hybrid-powered Macan will stay on sale alongside that car, though, and for the foreseeable future at that, much like Fiat is doing with its new 500. Expect both dynamic and visual changes to this Macan.
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*Alfa Romeo Giulia *
Comprehensive mid-life update will bring the Giulia into line with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class.
*BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé *
With the controversial nose still in place but this time with an additional pair of rear doors to boost practicality, the 4 Series Gran Coupé will be launched at the tail end of 2021. Excitingly, the Gran Coupé will be also available as the full-fat M4 for the first time. The popularity of the Gran Coupé in the US and China has driven this decision: 50% of 4 Series global sales are the four-door. So thanks to those two superpowers, it’s good news for the Brits as well.
The four-door coupé will join the existing Coupé and Convertible in the 4 Series lineup and is based on the four-door electric i4, which it will be built alongside. Prices will start from £40,465 for the entry level 420i, with the M440i XDrive priced from £54,670.
*Chevrolet Corvette C8 *
It’s a Corvette but not as we know it. For starters, the ’Vette has undergone its most dramatic evolution in 66 years and is now mid-engined. Secondly, it’s officially heading to the UK as a right-hooker. Don’t panic, though: the 6.2-litre V8 remains, delivering 0-62mph in under three seconds. UK cars will start at £81,700 and get manually adjustable suspension, electronic limited-slip differential and performance exhaust as standard. The 911 has a new rival.
The third-generation Honda HR-V will be a radical departure, stylistically and mechanically, from the second-gen car, which went off-sale at the end of 2020. Now badged HR-V e:HEV, it will be available exclusively with a hybrid powertrain, derived from the petrol-electric set-up that comes in the Jazz supermini. It will retain its raised ride height, but adopt a coupé-style sloping roofline and a new-look front end to match the next-gen Civic hatchback.
A 1.5-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder petrol engine is mated to a pair of electric motors for a combined 129bhp and 187lb ft - slightly more than the Jazz, likely because of the HR-V's increased size. Honda has yet to confirm performance or efficiency figures, but based on the Jazz's WLTP performance, a combined MPG rating in the high-50s is likely, with CO2 emissions around the 100g/km mark. Expect a 0-62mph time of around 10.0secs and a top speed just north of 100mph.
Lexus has ushered in the second-generation version of its NX crossover, which has gained a 302bhp plug-in hybrid option along with a bold new cabin design and evolved exterior styling. The latest iteration of Lexus’s best-selling model in Europe arrives shortly after the brand’s announcement that it will ramp up its electrification efforts with 10 new hybrid, PHEV and pure-electric models by 2025.
The NX 450h+ uses the same petrol-electric set-up as the closely related Toyota RAV4 and Suzuki Across SUVs. It pairs a 182bhp 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with a 180bhp electric motor on the front axle and a 54bhp motor at the rear for permanent four-wheel drive and a 0-62mph time of just over 6.0sec.
*Maserati Levante hybrid*
Maserati is updating its SUV late this year, dropping a plug-in hybrid version into it in a bid to help it keep pace with rivals like the Porsche Cayenne and Jaguar F-Pace ahead of an all-new car arriving in 2023.
Sibling to the EQA, the EQB is more GLB than B-Class. With similarly optimised aero tweaks, the EQB gets a 66kWh battery, which in the four-wheel-drive launch-spec car nets a range of 260 miles. It forms one part of a large electrification push from Mercedes, which has plans for 10 EQ models in total.
*Mercedes-Benz EQS *
The expansion of the Mercedes range will swell the total number of models beyond 50, boosted further by the likes of the new EQS, its range-topping electric car. Think of the S-Class as an EV and you’re well on the way to working out the crux of EQS.
A range of 435 miles is being targeted alongside performance to rival the Porsche Taycan. Mercedes boss Ola Källenius has also said the EQS will "set the benchmark" in terms of luxury, comfort and safety.
But the growth of Mercedes’ range has now seemingly peaked. Last March, Mercedes R&D chief Markus Schäfer told us that after the roll-out of its range of dedicated electric vehicles, “we are definitely reviewing our current line-up. The idea is to streamline - taking car variants out, but also platforms, powertrains and components.”
*Porsche 911 Carrera T *
As with the last 911 T, Porsche will be hoping it can sprinkle a little fairy dust across its 911 range by linking this car to other stripped-back 911s. This 'back-to-basics' 911 is set to bring lightweight window glass and door pull straps (very much like the hallowed GT cars), alongside lower suspension and optional rear-wheel steering.
*Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge*
Just like the other models in the range, the latest Rolls saloon is in line for a menacing Black Badge edition, featuring plenty of… you’ve guessed it… black detailing to dull down any chromework on the car. A lack of brightwork should help it to stand out from other Ghosts, while additional power will also give the car a point of differentiation from its more (comparatively) run-of-the-mill siblings.
Although the flagship vRS Kodiaq was recently withdrawn from sale due to emissions regulations, engineering tweaks as part of next year’s facelift will mean that it’ll return in 2021. Other changes in the update include new interior tech to keep the seven-seat SUV up to date with the latest software, as well as mild styling changes.
*Tesla Model S Plaid*
Tesla has given the Model S what it really needed: more power. The addition of a third motor creates this Plaid version. It gets 1006bhp, a 200mph top speed, and sub-2.0sec 0-60mph time. If you don’t black out from that sort of acceleration, the car will also manage a claimed 520 miles between charges, which would make it the longest-range electric car on sale by quite some margin. Bad news if that's still not enough raw pace for you: the 1100bhp Plaid+ has been axed from the company's plans.
Toyota's long-awaited sports coupé will be sold in the UK, unlike its new-generation Subaru BRZ cousin. Its predecessor quickly became an Autocar affordable driver's car favourite, but the new model courts some controversy by donning turbocharging, with a new 2.4-litre flat-four engine putting out 252bhp. It’s based on Toyota’s TNGA platform, and features a significantly updated cabin alongside subtly evolved exterior styling.
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*Alfa Romeo Stelvio*
Similar revisions to the Giulia's will give fresh life to Alfa’s SUV, likely bringing mild-hybrid tech and infotainment upgrades.
*Bentley Blower *
Bentley is embracing a bold, all-electric future - but the Crewe firm is still in touch with its past. Witness the ‘new’ Blower Continuation, a piece-by-piece recreation of the machines raced pre-war by the likes of Tim Birkin. To make the 12 new models – all now sold at £1.5 million-plus – Bentley’s Mulliner division took apart one of the four surviving Blowers to study, scan and recreate every part. It’s an audacious, inspiring project: British engineering at its finest.
*BMW 2 Series Coupé *
Bucking the trend for platform sharing, BMW has opted to make the new 2 Series Coupé rear-wheel drive, as opposed to the Gran Coupe’s front-drive layout. The good news is that this paves the way for a second-gen M2 hot version. In the meantime, engines will be the usual smattering of three- and four-cylinder petrols and diesels. Front end styling will bear more resemblance to the angular 8 Series than the buck-toothed 4 Series, and our first drive in a prototype suggests dynamic agility remains very much a calling card.
Citroen has traditionally always had a luxury-oriented saloon atop its model line-up, but it's 2021, so of course that position now goes to an SUV. The new model borrows styling cues from the chunky new C4 and sit atop the PSA Group's hybrid-compatible EMP2 architecture, but sports an unconventional protruding boot, in a nod to its saloon-shaped inspiration and in an attempt to carve out its own niche.
*Hyundai Ioniq 6 *
Expected to make its debut towards the end of the year, the Ioniq 6 will become the flagship model for Hyundai’s all-new Ioniq electric sub-brand. The EV saloon will be heavily based on the swooping Prophecy concept first seen in March 2020, and will ride on the firm’s new Electric Global Modular Platform, which has been designed around a long wheelbase and flat floor for maximum interior space. The cabin will be modelled on a “smart living room”, with various possible seating configurations.
E-GMP-based cars will be rear-wheel drive as standard, with an optional second motor on the front axle for adaptable four-wheel drive. A high-performance Ioniq 6 will likely use dual motors to deliver a top speed of around 162mph, and a 0-62mph sprint time of less than 3.5sec. Range will vary between models, with the most capable variants expected to manage more than 310 miles between charges. High-speed 800V charging capability at up to 350kW will be standard, and models will be backwards-compatible with existing 400V charging stations.
The Ioniq range will sit separately from existing electric Hyundai models such as the Kona Electric, and is due to kick off with the Ioniq 5 in the coming months. The compact crossover will take its design cues from the radical 45 Concept seen at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, with a wedge-like shape, low bonnet line and heavily sloping rear being a dramatic departure from the current Hyundai range. A larger Ioniq 7 SUV is expected to follow from 2024. Each Ioniq model will have a distinctive and different design, although all will feature the innovative ‘pixel’ headlights seen on the 45 and Prophecy concepts.
*Jeep Wrangler 4xe PHEV*
America’s answer to the Defender gains a 370bhp plug-in hybrid option, with power coming from a 2.0-litre, turbo four and a 400V, 17kWh battery. The 470lb ft of torque is a handy 59% increase over the most powerful existing Jeep and the set-up is claimed to improve on- and off-road capability. The latter is crucial for Jeep, because heritage is so important to the brand.
It’s Kia’s best-selling model here in the UK, but that doesn’t mean the brand is playing it safe for the fifth-generation car, due towards the end of the year. First official images have shown off the radical redesign, and it's likely to gain an array of electrified powertrains, including a PHEV.
So much is up in the air at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) at the moment around future product plans. Under new CEO Thierry Bolloré, a leaner showroom of JLR models is set to emerge, and the rapid expansion of all different shapes and sizes of SUVs in particular will end as the company instead focuses on its core - and highly profitable - models.
One of those will be the Range Rover, which will retain its role as the flagship of the Land Rover range. An all-new model arrives this year as the first model built on JLR’s new MLA architecture, which will ultimately underpin anything bigger than a Range Rover Evoque.
A huge investment, MLA can house petrol, diesel, hybrid and full-electric variants, all of which will emerge on the fifth-gen Range Rover’s watch. Up first will be petrol and diesels in both mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms. An all-electric version isn’t due for some time yet, although it is understood to be a priority for Bolloré ahead of any stand-alone electric Range Rover that had previously been planned.
Don’t expect any great departure in the styling, more a refined look honed under design boss Gerry McGovern before his recent promotion to a group design role. An ever-more luxurious interior is a given, too, as are more potent and plusher versions from JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations using a BMW-sourced V8.
Affalterbach’s take on the S-Class will pack a hybridised twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 good for around 700bhp - and that’s in standard form: a new S73e variant will take output over 800bhp. The lower-powered version mates a 134bhp electric motor to the V8, while the S73e gains a more powerful 201bhp electric boost. Anyone waiting for the S65 will be disappointed because Mercedes has announced that the 2019 S65 Final Edition was just that.
The SL is back - but not as you know it. It will switch to being more of a sports car, deriving its underpinnings from the GT and sharing that car’s aluminium-intensive platform, known as the Modular Sports Architecture (MSA), which has been developed by AMG. This brings a useful economy of scale to these top-end models. Another significant change is around the roof, which will switch back to fabric instead of the current metal top.
*MG electric hatch*
The as yet unnamed supermini could be one of the most affordable EVs to hit the market in the coming years.
MG fans have been crying out for a revival of the brand’s sports cars from its 1960s heyday and 2021 could be the year to provide it in the form of a two-door, four-seat flagship. The as yet unnamed model is based around the MG E-Motion concept that was shown at the Shanghai motor show in 2017, but recently leaked patent drawings show the styling has moved on considerably since then. Technical details are scarce, but we do know that it uses parent company SAIC’s twin-motor, four-wheel-drive powertrain. A sub-4.0sec 0-62mph time is likely.
A new version of the large SUV takes styling cues from the latest Juke and Qashqai, and also gains a much-improved interior featuring a large touchscreen set-up. Nissan will also add electrified engine options to its Skoda Kodiaq rival, as it seeks to sell one million electrified vehicles a year by 2022.
*Porsche Taycan GTS*
Porsche’s first EV is all set to gain greater driver appeal with a performance-biased GTS variant. Likely to arrive as a rear-wheel-drive version (a standard, non-GTS version of which is already on sale, the Taycan GTS will follow the tried and tested formula of previous models by gaining additional standard equipment and engineering tweaks to deliver a more focused driving experience.
*Vauxhall Astra *
Newly integrated PSA Group brand Vauxhall will benefit from its Stellantis parent company's scale by sharing development of the new Astra with the Peugeot 308. While both cars share underpinnings and engines, Vauxhall promises a substantial design differentiation for its hatch inside and out, similar to that already seen on the upcoming Mokka. A pair of plug-in hybrids feature, and it will be offered in both hatchback and Sports Tourer estate form.
The plug-in hybrid Astra is front-wheel-drive from launch, but a more powerful all-wheel-drive version producing 296bhp - potentially reviving the VXR nameplate - is rumoured for a later launch.
*Volkswagen ID 4 GTX*
This is the big one: can VW build an electric GTI? Because that is essentially what this car is aiming to be. The GTX badge will sit alongside the GTI tag and features a dual-motor, four-wheel-drive set-up producing a combined 302bhp and 339lb ft. It will do 0-62mph in 6.2sec and have a range of 286 miles. If the ID 4 GTX proves electric cars can be fast and engaging, VW could just have a winner on its hands.
*Volvo C40 Recharge*
The Volvo C40 is the Swedish company’s second fully electric vehicle, and is based on its first; the XC40 Recharge P8 SUV. The C40 is just as long and wide as the XC40, but the sloping, coupe roofline reduces the height of the car (and consequently the rear headroom). A 78kWh battery will return a range of around 260 miles, and the 201bhp electric motors on each axle bring a 0-62mph figure of 4.9sec. Production is due to begin in the autumn, with first deliveries commencing before the year is out.
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*Autocar's motoring predictions for 2021*
*The best automotive activities to do in 2021*